Back pain is a common health condition among Americans. Medical News Today reports that “approximately 80% of all Americans will have low back pain at least once in their lives”.
Causes and risk factors of back pain include:
• Strained muscles
• Structural problems (e.g. osteoporosis, arthritis, sciatica)
• Poor posture
• Stressful job
• A sedentary lifestyle
• Anxiety and depression
When seeking pain relief, it’s common for people to turn to prescription drugs. And why wouldn’t they? The oral solution is marketed as a quick fix for all your pain. Unfortunately, painkillers such as OxyContin, Percocet and other opioids have been found to cause more pain than to relieve it.
Reports are finding that deaths due to opioid overdose is on the rise. In 2010 alone, the number of fatalities due to opioid abuse reached nearly 17,000.
How is this happening? Consumer Reports says that when “used properly, opioids can ease severe short-term pain from, say, surgery or a broken bone, and manage chronic pain from an illness such as cancer. But people run into trouble when they inadvertently misuse the drugs—combining them with alcohol or other drugs (such as sleeping pills), taking them in too high a dose or for too long, or using them while driving or in other situations when they need to be alert.”
Dr. Shawn Furst of Enloe Medical Center describes opioids as being “very chemically similar to heroin.” Some of the side effects of these narcotics include a decrease in breathing, accidental overdose and even death.
Ease the Pain with Pressure
Instead of reaching over the counter, there are much safer natural ways for relieving pain. One alternative that’s proven to be very effective is reflexology. This practice consists of applying pressure to specific points on your body, which will help ease the pain you are experiencing.
According to Mayo Clinic, “Several studies funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health indicate that reflexology may reduce pain and psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, and enhance relaxation and sleep. Studies also show that reflexology may have benefits in palliative care of people with cancer.”
For back pain specifically, massaging points on your feet has proven to help. Curejoy.com has identified three ways you can relieve back pain by massaging various points on your feet:
Foot reflex points
Lower back pain can be treated by applying pressure to the soles of your feet, your heels and the area around your ankles, as well as the inside edges along your feet as this is where the reflex points for your spine are located.
If you are experiencing upper back pain, such as in your shoulders, you should apply pressure to either the soles or tops of your feet just below your toes.
Sleeping acupressure foot points
This technique requires you to sit straight and hold your feet one at a time. Start by holding your right foot in your hands. Locate the bone that connects the big toe to the second toe. Place your thumb in this area and apply pressure onto it. Press down for one minute as you continue to inhale and exhale. Reduce the amount of pressure and rub the area. Repeat these steps on the other foot.
Sitting acupressure foot points
Before you begin, wash your feet and pat them dry. Then, sit down on your bed or in a chair. Cross your legs and hold your right foot in your left hand. Roll your hand back and forth on your right foot, then rub your thumb in the middle of your foot from the heel to toe. Walk your thumb up and down this area a few times to relax the muscles.